[HISTORY: Adopted by the Village Board of the Village of Belgium 6-9-2003 by Ord. No. 9-03 (Title 10, Ch. 2 of the 1991 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
The purpose of this chapter is to prevent blight, protect the integrity of investments in real property, prevent the decline of real estate values, improve aesthetics and protect public health, safety and welfare. In order to secure this goal, activities contrary to this chapter are deemed to be regulated or proscribed through the exercise of the Village's police power.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ABANDONED MOTOR VEHICLE
- A motor vehicle unattended for such a time and under such circumstances as to cause the vehicle to reasonably appear to have been abandoned without permission of the property owner or on a public street or highway or public property for more than 48 hours in the Village. A motor vehicle shall not be considered an abandoned motor vehicle when it is in a garage or enclosed structure or when designated as not abandoned by the Village Marshal.
- MOTOR VEHICLE
- Includes mobile home, moped, motor bicycle, motor bus, motorcycle, motor-driven cycle, motor home, motor truck, trailer, semitrailer and motor vehicle as defined in Ch. 340, Wis. Stats.
- NUISANCE MOTOR VEHICLE
- Includes inoperable, unlicensed, unroadworthy, disassembled or wrecked motor vehicles. A vehicle for which a license has been applied for shall be herein deemed a licensed vehicle if proof of application is prominently displayed on the front windshield.
No person shall keep, place or store any nuisance motor vehicle or abandoned motor vehicle upon any public thoroughfare, street or highway or any private or public property within the Village in a manner inconsistent with this chapter.
Nuisance motor vehicles may be kept, placed or stored outside of a garage or enclosed structure only in conjunction with an authorized and licensed auto sales or repair business lawfully operating within a properly zoned area and in compliance with all state and local laws, rules, regulations, licenses and permits.
The owner of any vehicle in violation of this chapter which is on private property shall be notified of a violation of this chapter and provided with 10 full calendar days to repair, assemble, make the vehicle operable and roadworthy and license any vehicle which may not be licensed or, in the alternative, place such vehicle in a garage or enclosed structure or place such vehicle within an authorized and licensed sales or repair business lawfully operating within a properly zoned area and in compliance with all state and local laws, rules, regulations, licenses and permits.
If the owner of a vehicle in violation of this chapter which is located on private property can be reasonably determined, service of intent to tow shall be attempted thereon by personal service. If unable to notify through personal service, such notification shall be by mail. In addition thereto, a sticker shall be posted on the vehicle, which shall be deemed adequate notice of intent to tow. The ten-day time limit provided to procure voluntary compliance with this chapter shall commence to run at 12:59 p.m. of the day notice of intent to tow is applied to the vehicle.
Public property and right-of-way. The owner of any vehicle which is in violation of this chapter which is upon public property or a public right-of-way shall be notified of a violation of this chapter and provided with 48 hours to repair, assemble, make the vehicle operable and roadworthy and license any vehicle which may not be licensed or, in the alternative, place such vehicle in a garage or enclosed structure or place such vehicle within an authorized and licensed sales or repair business lawfully operating within a properly zoned area and in compliance with all state and local laws, rules, regulations, licenses and permits.
Extension of time. The Village Marshal, for good cause, upon request, may grant a reasonable extension of any time limit imposed herein to enable the owner to voluntarily comply with this chapter.
Other ordinances and laws. A motor vehicle may be towed under authority of any other ordinance or law pursuant to procedures therein specified where a tow is authorized by another ordinance for reasons other than a violation of this chapter.
Nontolling of period of time provided to comply. The period of time with which an owner is provided hereunder to comply with this chapter in order to avoid towing shall not be tolled by the fact of a temporary removal of the vehicle from the place where the violation of this chapter was noticed to occur under circumstances where the vehicle continues to be in violation of this chapter.
The owner of a motor vehicle in violation of this chapter who fails in a timely manner to comply with this chapter shall be subject to having the vehicle towed and stored at the owner's expense.
Each day of violation of this chapter shall be deemed a separate offense. A citation for violation of this chapter is not a precondition for the vehicle being towed under authority of this chapter.
Any vehicle in violation of this chapter shall be impounded until lawfully claimed or disposed of under § 258-8, except that if it is deemed by the Village Marshal that the cost of towing and storage charges for the impoundment would exceed the value of the vehicle, the vehicle may be junked or sold by the Village prior to expiration of the impoundment period upon determination by the Village Marshal that a vehicle is not stolen or otherwise wanted for evidence or other reasons. All substantially complete vehicles in excess of 19 model years of age shall be disposed of in accordance with § 258-8.
Owner responsible for costs. The owner of a vehicle in violation of this chapter, except a stolen vehicle, is responsible for all costs of towing, impoundment and disposing of the vehicle. The Village Clerk shall mail a statement for such costs not recovered from the sale of the vehicle to the last-known address of the vehicle owner. The statement shall be payable within 30 calendar days from mailing. If the statement remains unpaid after its specified due date, and if the vehicle owner is an owner of the real property from which the vehicle was removed, the Village Clerk shall charge the unpaid costs against said real property as a delinquent special charge as provided by § 66.0627, Wis. Stats. Costs not recovered in any other manner may be recovered in a civil action by the Village against the vehicle owner. Whether or not the Village recovers the costs of towing and enforcement, the Village shall be responsible to the towing service for towing charges and reasonable charges for impoundment.
[Amended 6-14-2004 by Ord. No. 22-04; 3-8-2010 by Ord. No. 2-10]
Any vehicle in violation of this chapter not disposed under § 258-7 shall be retained in storage for a minimum period of 10 days after certified mail notice has been sent to the owner and lienholder of record to permit reclamation of the vehicle after payment of accrued charges. Such notice shall set forth the year, make, model and serial number of the vehicle in violation and the place where the vehicle is being held and shall inform the owner and any lienholder of their rights to reclaim the vehicle. The notice shall state that the failure of the owner or lienholder to exercise their rights to reclaim the vehicle under this section shall be deemed a waiver of all right, title and interest in the vehicle and consent to the sale of the vehicle.
Each retained vehicle not reclaimed by its owner or lienholder may be sold. The Village may dispose of the vehicle by sealed bid or auction sale. At such sale the highest bid for any such vehicle shall be accepted, unless the same is deemed inadequate by the Village Marshal, in which event all bids may be rejected. If all bids are rejected or no bid is received, the Village may either readvertise the sale, adjourn the sale to a definite date, sell the vehicle at a private sale or junk the vehicle. Any interested person may offer bids on each vehicle to be sold.
Notice of sale. A public sale notice shall be posted in at least three places in the Village likely to give notice. The posting of the notice shall be in the same form as the certified mail notice to the owner or lienholder of record.
Upon sale of the vehicle, the Village shall supply the purchaser with a completed form, designed by the Department of Transportation, enabling the purchaser to obtain a regular certificate of title for the vehicle. The purchaser shall have 10 days to remove the vehicle from the storage area but shall pay a reasonable storage fee established by the Village for each day the vehicle remains in storage after the second business day subsequent to the sale date. Ten days after the sale, the purchaser shall forfeit all interest in the vehicle and the vehicle shall be deemed to be abandoned and may be sold again.
Any listing of vehicles to be sold by the Village shall be made available to any interested person or organization who or which makes a written request for such a list. The Village may charge a fee for the list.
Within five days after the sale or disposal of a vehicle as provided in this chapter, the Village shall advise the Department of Transportation of the sale or disposition on a form supplied by the Department of Transportation.
[Amended 3-8-2010 by Ord. No. 2-10]
The notice of violation described in § 258-5 shall provide the owner with an opportunity to request a hearing on the matter. Where a hearing is requested by the filing of a written hearing request with the Village Clerk within the time provided for compliance in the notice of violation, no enforcement action shall be commenced until the hearing is held.
Upon receipt of such hearing request, the Village Clerk shall schedule a hearing before the Village Board and shall give the owner written notice thereof. Such hearing shall be held as soon as practicable after receipt of request therefor.
At such hearing, the owner shall be given an opportunity to be heard and show why the owner is not in violation of this chapter. After such hearing the Village Board shall make findings and issue a decision, in writing, whether or not this chapter has been violated.
If the Village Board decides this chapter has been violated, the owner shall be notified of a compliance date which shall be reasonable under all of the circumstances. If the owner fails to comply by said date, the Village may proceed with issuance of a citation or other enforcement action pursuant to this chapter.
The proceedings at such hearing, including the findings and decision of the Board, shall be summarized, reduced to writing and entered as a matter of public record in the office of the Village Clerk. Such record shall include a copy of every notice issued in connection with the matter.
Any person aggrieved by the decision of the Village Board may seek relief therefrom in any court of record by filing a petition therefor with the court within 30 days of receipt of the Village Board's decision.
The failure of any owner to timely file a hearing request or to appear at a scheduled hearing shall constitute a waiver of the right to a hearing.
In addition to the removal and disposal of vehicles in violation of this chapter, a forfeiture may be imposed in an amount as set by the Village Board.